Late November and the Pre-Winter Chores

Late November and the Pre-Winter Chores

Despite the ravages of wind and rain in recent weeks, and the biting cold north wind that played havoc with the few remaining leaves, a few gardeners continue to salvage blooms from plants that were growing in sheltered spots. The arrangement below was made from blooms and foliage picked by Myra Knight in her garden on November 15, the date of our Bloom Day North posting.

Most of nature’s outdoor colours have faded, however, and the cold wind makes the out-of-doors less enticing than it did in October. Now is the time when gardeners in the Chester area are faced with carrying out the various jobs entailed in good stewardship of the land. It is a treat when we have indoor plants, like Myra’s brilliant hibiscus below, to provide us with a pleasurable landscape indoors.

Many good gardening references are available as guides to these pre-winter chores but, as a brief summary of the basics, we’re including a few drawn from a list seen recently on the website of The Nature Conservancy (

Any young trees or shrubs that may be vulnerable to breaking under the weight of heavy snow or ice should be tied or staked. It is important to use soft ties (even old t-shirts cut into strips) because wire or twine may cut into the bark.

The lower trunks of young trees ought to be wrapped in white cloth or white plastic strips to protected their bark from sunscald and from nibbling by rabbits or voles. Conifers and broad-leafed evergreens benefit from a generous dose of watering before the ground freezes.

Mulching beds can still be done at this late date but the layer of mulch should not be thicker than 10 centimetres so as not to smother the bulbs and other plants that you hope to see again next spring. Snow on a perennial bed makes a good insulator but, when shovelling snow, it should not be dumped on shrubbery because the accumulated weight of snow, and especially wet snow in the spring, can do serious damage to the plant’s branches.

Magenta blooms on Myra’s geranium in a sunny window with a background of lawn and woodland view make this a lovely November photo.

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